GFM Network News


Calf health closely tied to cow nutrition

Calf health closely tied to cow nutrition

Six problems you may see with calves if cow nutrition is compromised

Many cows came home in 2017 from pastures parched by drought for much of the grazing season. Without proper supplementation of brood cows through the rest of their gestation, vitamin and mineral deficiencies will show up as health issues next spring with economic consequences that often persist for several more. It is well established that […] Read more

Factors that hinder calf immunity

Factors that hinder calf immunity

Calving Health with Heather Smith Thomas

Illness occurs when an animal’s body is overwhelmed by infection. A healthy animal with strong immunity is less likely to become sick than an animal with poor immunity. Immunity refers to the body’s ability to fight off pathogens, and this ability is developed in a complex process in which the body creates specific weapons for […] Read more


Making dollars out of sense

Making dollars out of sense

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Aside from price insurance (in provinces where it is available), cow-calf producers can’t do much to control the price they receive for their calves, so managing input costs is often the biggest opportunity to improve profitability. The Western Beef Development Centre has found that annual production costs differ by at least $100 per cow between […] Read more

A simple vigour test for newborns

A simple vigour test for newborns

Give it two fingers to suck… that’s step one

Two simple observations at birth can tell you whether a newborn calf has the vigour to quickly suckle enough colostrum to achieve the protection of passive immunity. “Measuring calving ease and suckle reflex is a quick and easy method to identify beef calves that are unlikely to consume colostrum by four hours after birth,” says […] Read more


black cow and calf

Stepping up the energy for newly weaned calves

In the September issue we discussed formulating rations for backgrounding cattle and focused on the importance of targeting performance. The take-home message is, if one wants to target a specific rate of gain regardless of the class of cattle you are feeding, a nutrition program needs to be developed that meets the nutrient requirements of […] Read more

Dr. Lacey Fowler of Viking Vet Clinic

Case of vitamin deficiency in calves cracked

High mortality isn’t normally associated with vitamin deficiencies, but for one Alberta producer, stressful winter weather may have been the tipping point. The family lost 22 of the 70 calves born to heifers during the 2013 calving season. Getting the Viking Veterinary Clinic involved from the outset, when unexplained deaths started happening early in the […] Read more